city practice comments

Shunryu Suzuki Transcript

When I say it is difficult to practice in such a beautiful building with a completely furnished zendo I mean rigid formal practice in a complete zendo is not always good practice. The practice then may tend to be dead. To have a strong practice in comfortable surroundings is difficult. But when you practice with various difficulties that practice has a lot of strength in it. To help others who may be in the midst of difficulties in this sense is to help them have good practice. When we practice in the midst of the difficulties of our neighbors and our own difficulties, then we will have good practice. Our practice will be actual. [page 14]

In the East the main effort we make to solve problems and to help society is to work inside ourselves. But here in the West we try to solve problems actively, by action outside ourselves. The real way to help others should be a combination of the so-called Eastern and Western ways. [page 16]

Kitchen work and meal practice are very important. This is the first step toward the practice of non-duality. Those who have non-dualistic meal practice can extend that practice endlessly into various practices. The way we take care of kitchen work should be the same way we take care of our posture and breathing and every part of our body in our zazen. [page 27]

Our practice is to help people, and how to help people is to practice our way in each moment. That is how to live in this world and how to practice zazen. To have absolute refuge, we do not have emotional activity or thinking activity in our practice. To stop thinking, to be free from emotional activity when we sit does not mean just to be concentrated, but to have complete reliance on ourselves, also. We are just like a baby who is on the lap of its mother. That is zazen practice, and that is how we should extend our practice to our everyday life.

Of course, there are no special rules on how to treat things or how to be friendly with others. How we find the way in each moment is to think about how to help people practice a religious way. If you don't forget this point, you will find out how to treat people, how to treat things, how to behave yourself; and that is at the same time the so-called Bodhisattva way. [page 47]

Excerpts from Wind Bell, Volume IX, Nos. 3-4, Fall-Winter 1970-71


File name: 70-00-00: city practice comments (titled by pf) Probably given sometime in 1970 before August when Suzuki left for Japan.

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In Wind Bell, Vol. 9, issue 3, 1970